Leon J. Makasjian
Number of Cruises: Several
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: August 30, 2006
We had the opportunity to sail three consecutive segments with the Prinsendam; we covered the Mediterranean; the Black Sea, and Northern Africa. A total of 48 consecutive days; August 30 to October 17, 2006.
Within the past two years, I have also cruised 40 days on Celebrity Cruise Line Millennium; 15 days on the Regal Princess and 26 days on the Constellation (Celebrity Cruise Line). As you can tell, I am a Celebrity Cruise Line fan.
The M.S. Prinsendam is the former
Royal Viking Sun on which I had also sailed for two weeks in 1999. I know the
ship very well.
I chose these three segments because of the unique ports of call including Alexandria, Egypt. First, this ship carries only 793 guests; it is not a mega-ship at 38,000 tons. It is a handsome ship with emphasis on comfort and luxury. At first glance, I felt I was entering a cozy country club rather than a mega-hotel. It felt cozy, not grand. I was impressed with the width of the corridors in the cabin areas; very wide and detailed nicely as a fine library. A big plus; self service laundry areas, essential for long voyages!
The dining experience overall is
high quality throughout the ship. The Lido food is simple with enough variety.
The quality, excellent!
The La Fontaine dining experience impressed with the quality of meats and seafoods. Simply excellent! Of course the Pinnacle grill dining takes this a little further for the nominal surcharge. In sum, excellent dining.
The staff have ways of knowing your name and anticipating your needs. Special attention was given to my wife (we are expecting a child) and various extras were provided without question and without our asking. They really deserve plaudits for personalized service. An extra; hot Italian coffees like lattes, espressos are all complimentary unlike most ships.
The casino is quite small, we never gamble, not an issue. The lounges are finely detailed, an excellent internet center is provided as well as a library. There are many smaller detailed lounges with maps... Decks are nice and open, great for walking or jogging. A new spa area is a great touch, pools are adequate for the smaller ship.
We had two staterooms, a standard outside room as well as a superior verandah suite. The standard rooms are roomy at 180-190 square feet with a walk in closet, flat panel TV and DVD player as well as a self service mini-bar. The superior verandah suite measures at a large 362 s/f with balcony. Very uncommon in this category even on other Holland America ships. Very nice room!
The shows are adequate. The "one man shows," such as musicians, magicians, were satisfying although the staff musicals were adequate at best.
Of course the ports of call were fantastic with ample time in each port. Many overnight stays; Athens, Istanbul.
In sum, a great cruise experience. A very nice comfortable ship with personalized service and great high quality meals served on one of the best itineraries I have seen on any ship. Of course being on the ship for 48 consecutive days gives me insight to provide details, details, details for curious guests.
I can also compare my Celebrity
cruise experiences on 91,000 ton ships with the M.S. Prinsendam. In sum, quality
is provided despite size. For exotic ports and very personal service the
Prinsednam delivers in spades!
Leon J. Makasjian